The following is a message from Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel in celebration of June Dairy Month:
Three every day. That is how many servings of dairy we should have in our daily diets, at the very least. When people think of milk, they think of calcium for strong bones, but milk is a source of so much more. Milk includes nine essential nutrients such as Vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin, niacin and riboflavin to help cells produce energy and protein for strong muscles.
Cheese is a concentrated source of those beneficial nutrients found in milk. Wisconsin produced 2.86 billion pounds of cheeses in 2013, including specialty varieties produced nowhere else in the nation. The byproduct of cheese making is whey. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that continues to gain popularity here and abroad as a food ingredient. In the first three months of 2014, Wisconsin ranked second in the nation among states for its whey exports around the world.
With a variety of dairy products to choose from, Wisconsinites can pick a dairy good option for their own diet including reduced-fat, low-fat or fat-free. Dairy is needed daily for people of all ages, from the young to the young at heart. A serving size of dairy is one cup of milk, one cup of yogurt or one and a half ounces of natural cheese.
Here in America’s Dairyland, we are fortunate to be surrounded by the dairy industry. With more than 10,000 dairy farms and almost 400 dairy plants, Wisconsin is known for its solid infrastructure, advanced technology and cutting-edge research. With world-renowned agribusinesses and quality educational institutions, the state continues to maintain its reputation as the dairy state and prepare for future generations.
Several years ago, Governor Scott Walker announced the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30×20 Initiative, which included the goal to produce 30 billion pounds of milk by the year 2020 to meet the needs of the marketplace. By providing assistance and access to resources, the Initiative seeks to make farms more productive and farmers more profitable.
While many thought this goal of 30 billion pounds would be easy to reach, it is going to take diligence by the entire industry to accomplish. There is increased demand by our cheesemakers for fresh, fluid milk to make products sold here and to customers in about 150 countries.
This June, farms and communities will be celebrating Dairy Month. A schedule of upcoming events and farm breakfasts is available at www.dairydaysofsummer.com.